HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — the shock was still wearing off for celebrities when they arrived at the Governors Ball after the oscars.
Attendees were buzzing inside the Ray Dolby Theater at the Oscars after party Sunday night, processing their emotions following the 94th Annual Academy Awards. During a night of historic wins and emotional speeches, things took a turn when partway through the evening, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, and her bald head.
Smith later went on to win best actor for his role as Venus and Serena Williams’ father Richard in the best picture-nominated film “KingRichard.” Smith in his speech addressed being a “protector” and “defender,” and he apologized to the Academy, which released a statement denouncing “violence of any form.”
Seemingly everyone at the Governors Ball was analyzing the situation, from Simu Liu to Lupita Nyong’o, who was seated right behind Smith and Pinkett Smith when the incident occurredtrying in real-time to understand what happened and process how they felt — but not necessarily on the record.
With a glass of rosé in hand, Nyong’o was seen speaking animatedly about the situation to Riz Ahmed, who won the best short film for “The Long Goodbye.”
There was a “no comment” from Queen Latifah, who said the show otherwise was “great” and “visually stunning.”
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After Smith skipped the press room at the show – where winners usually swing by to discuss their awards – neither he nor Pinkett Smith attended the Governors Ball, instead opting to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar party, flanked by children the couple’s children Willow, Jaden and his son Trey .
But it wasn’t all drama at the Governors Ball, as murmurs about the dramatic moment turned into celebration, with stars basking in their wins.
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Jessica Chastain, Billie Eilish, more celebs engrave trophies
Surrounded by Oscar-shaped appetizers and desserts and the musical stylings of DJ D-Nice (who DJed the televised show), celebs didn’t miss an opportunity to toast their achievements.
Billie Eilish, who took home best original song for her James Bond title track “No Time to Die,” took over a table and snapped photos with brother and collaborator Finneas before planting a big smooch on her boyfriend. Finneas and Questlove hobnobbed by the engraving station, where winners get their Oscars trophies engraved, with Questlove, making official his best documentary win for “Summer of Soul.” Kenneth Branagh made a beeline for the engraving area with his best original screenplay Oscar trophy as soon as he hit the party, and was met with a chicken pot pie soon after.
Jessica Chastain, whose portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” earned her the best actress trophy, shared the excitement of the “out-of-body experience” of claiming an Oscar.
“I was on stage and my mouth was moving but I felt like nothing was coming out,” Chastain told USA TODAY. “So I’m kind of in an out-of-body experience, which many people told me would happen. I’m so happy.”
Chastain was mobbed by photographers as she stepped off the platform from getting her trophy engraved, with a large crowd cheering.
Also at the engraving area, “CODA” star Troy Katsur cradled his best supporting actor Oscar and posed for pictures.
“CODA” writer/director Sian Heder reflected on “the ride (the movie) you have taken.”
“It’s so much,” Heder said. “And it’s yet to sink in what it means for the deaf community, for stories of marginalized people, for independent films, honestly. This was a little indie movie against big Hollywood movies with incredible directors who are famous and known. … When we got Nominated for a (best picture) Oscar I thought we were the 10th movie that had snuck in.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook celebrated the “CODA” win modestly with a glass of champagne.
The indoor-outdoor setup of the glitzy affair allowed attendees to mingle inside by tables of caviar-topped crab toast, or fraternize outdoors by a raw bar and heat lamps that warmed up the chilly Southern California night.
Outside at a high-top table, Bill Murray munched on a slice of salmon pizza, one of the specialties from chef Wolfgang Puck, who catered the event along with Ghetto Gastro. Ciaran Hinds sipped a pigeon near the entrance, where Serena Williams walked in not long before Oscars co-host Wanda Sykes. “The Worst Person in the World” star Renate Reinsve chatted outside with “Euphoria” actor Jacob Elordi.
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Last year’s best actor winner Anthony Hopkins shuffled onto the dance floor with wife Stella Arroyave, doing a little jig before receding as people pulled their phones out to record him.
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How’d Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall do?
When it came to the show’s three co-hosts, Queen Latifah said she “thought it was hilarious” and wanted more, though she admitted she might be “biased” because she loves all three comedians. (Latifah starred in 2017’s “Girls Trip” with Hall.)
David Oyelowo also thought the hosts were “fantastic,” though he had mixed feelings about one bit in particular.
“I did find myself feeling some kind of way about Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa being fondled,” he said. “It’s funny, but if you reverse the gender roles there, are we OK?”
“I think we got to keep on getting better,” Oyelowo said. “But it was funny.”
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Contributing: Andrea Mandell
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism